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Cast ‘excellent’ in Actors’ Summit’s current production

12/6/2012 - West Side Leader
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By David Ritchey

From left, Dawn Sniadak-Yomokoski, Kevin Kern and Lindsey Mitchell star in Actors’ Summit Theater’s “My Mother’s Lesbian Jewish Wiccan Wedding.”
Photo courtesy of Actors’ Summit Theater
DOWNTOWN AKRON — True stories don’t usually translate with integrity to the stage. That may be the problem with Actors’ Summit Theater’s production of “My Mother’s Lesbian Jewish Wiccan Wedding,” which is on stage through Dec. 23 at Greystone Hall.

According to the promotional materials, the play is based on a true story.

The plot begins with Claire (Lindsey Mitchell) leaving her husband, Garth (Keith Stevens), and moving from Nebraska to take a job in Canada. She leaves her son, young David (Daniel Sovich), with her husband and a promise that he will visit her in Canada soon.

Claire, Garth and young David have adjustment problems.

Claire meets Jane (Dawn Sniadak-Yomokoski), and slowly their romance blossoms and moves toward the wedding that is promised in the play’s title.

Young David matures into David (Kevin Kern), who tells the story of his mother’s self-discovery. David sings a new song, “A Short History of Gay Marriage,” which is breathtaking in its speed and ends with Canada passing a law that permits same-sex marriage.

The cast is excellent. 

Kern accompanies himself on the guitar for his songs. He’s a talented actor and is making his first stage appearance in the Akron area.

Mitchell, Stevens and Sniadak-Yomokoski make the pleasure and pain of self-discovery evident to the audience. Mitchell has one of the script’s most interesting roles as she grows and changes as her character adjusts to the changes taking place in her life. 

Sovich may be the youngest cast member, but he holds his own with the older, more mature actors. I hope we may see him soon in other shows.

Director Neil Thackaberry helped his performers develop definite, well-defined characters. Unfortunately, the writing of the story has a soap-opera quality. Yet, the story is as current as today’s newspapers. On a personal level, the plot wrestles with the difficulty of starting over.

Musical director J.T. Buck is accompanied by Mark Bussinger (percussion) and Kern (guitar). The musicians support the singers and never overpower the singers or their lyrics.

For ticket information, call 330-374-7568.

Also, the theater is hosting post-show talk backs during the run of the production. Following the show Dec. 7, Buck will join the cast in hosting a conversation on “Coming Out.” Following the Dec. 14 show, the Rev. Melissa Carvill-Ziemer, minister of the Unitarian Universalist Church of Kent, and Evin Carvill-Ziemer, interim minister at Southwest Unitarian Universalist Church, will join the audience for a discussion on the marriage equality movement.


David Ritchey has a Ph.D. in communications and is a professor of communications at The University of Akron. He is a member of the American Theatre Critics Association.

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